Chapter One: Into Darkness
My name is Katrina and I have one hell of a story to share with you if you are willing to read this.
My story starts June Sixteenth, two-thousand eleven.
It had been a typical Saturday evening for me. I had been wearing my usual black on black attire that I had been most comfortable with at the time. Not goth really, but still a loose black t-shirt and black pants that did give off a kind of dark look. I had my dark black hair, short though it was, pulled back into something that resembled a ponytail. My green eyes had been hidden by a pair of soft shades meant to help reduce some of the brightness of the neon lights. I had recently finished up with my freshman history classes at college and had moved to dump my books off in an old locker. Classes done with, I had then headed to my part-time job where I worked, which was in the mall just a few miles away from the college. Within the mall was a blade shop called Sword’s Edge. It was a small store that sold decent quality blades for great prices. There was a big plus in that anyone who worked there would get a nice discount on the blades. I had been thinking of starting a nice collection. It was also a slow paced job as very few customers came in to buy blades and those that did were regulars who knew that the shop was perfect for getting almost any kind of blade from a simple switch blade to mid- and high-quality katanas.
I finished with my shift, six hours that night, and headed out of the mall for home. I yelled goodbye to a few people I knew, more regulars, before I turned and rushed out of the building. I was late enough as it was getting home since I had taken the last three hours of a co-worker’s shift as well as my own three hour shift for the night. I normally would have been home at nine since my shift ends at around eight thirty. Yet because I decided to be nice and take the shift of one of my less than kind co-workers who had gotten food poisoning, even she didn’t deserve that, it had gotten dark and the streets far quieter than what I was used to once by the time I was normally done stocking inventory and cleaning up the place for the next day.
After taking a moment to glance at my watch, and upon seeing that it was going on midnight, I decided to take a back route that I knew of so that I could get home those few minutes faster. I ducked behind a few large buildings and into the alleyways behind as I made a beeline for home. Since we lived at the very edge of Las Vegas, this part of the city could be surprisingly quiet at this time of night, the steady roar of the inner city would fade to a dull throb at this distance as the people out here at the edges of the city crashed for the night. Mother always said it was the only peaceful place in the entire city and I would have to agree with her on that feeling.
Mom and I... rarely ever agreed about anything these days.
Ever since she and dad got divorced back when I was five, and what with him dying in a car accident barely even six days after the divorce was finalized, she has been difficult to deal with and often drank to the point of passing out to ignore the pain, guilt and grief she felt because of his death.
I wasn’t all that worried about getting home late beyond the fact that I was hungry and had set aside a decent dinner to pop into the oven once I got home. Mom was normally either out at this time of night with her drinking buddies or passed out drunk in her bed or on the couch. I laughed softly to myself in bitter mirth as I made my way into the more narrow part of the alleyway and I moved quickly as I thought about my mother and her bad drinking habits. She probably didn’t even realize that I had a job, or that I was paying my own way through college, or even perhaps that I was in college. I’d tried to get her in to see a therapist on occasion, or one of those alcoholics anonymous meetings, but every time I tried it just seemed to make her drinking worse.
I paused for a moment as my melancholy thoughts ground to a halt as I was suddenly, inexplicably, nervous and I glanced around warily. I felt anxious as a wave of fear filled me with the sudden and almost palpable sensation that, not only was I being watched, but that I was in a great amount of danger. I found myself suddenly wishing I’d taken the long way around that night instead of risking the alleyways and cursing the fact that I had forgotten my mace spray.
I started forward again and picked up my pace, but I barely took two steps before I was caught from behind in a sudden choke hold. A damp cloth was forced hard against my mouth and over my nose. The cloth reeked of some kind of pungent fluid. I fought as much as I could to get free of my captor’s strong grasp, but the chemical on the cloth, some kind of ether, worked too fast on my system, and the scent was far too strong. Not a single breath could be taken that was not filled with that foul odor. My body started to go limp and my eyelids grew heavy. I tried to pull away one more time, one last desperate struggle to get free as I tried to kick loose, before I finally passed out and sank into the darkness of unconsciousness.